Saturday, April 18, 2015

Take away one (pill), add three

The problem that I am about to describe falls under two categories:

1: Be careful what you wish for, and
2: There's always something.

In a continuing effort to decrease the number of pills I take, I have been focused on two that I take prophylactically due to decreased immune function resulting from prednisone. They are Valtrex (valacyclovir), an anti-viral, and Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole), an antibiotic.

Since I am down to taking 1 mg. of prednisone, Melissa said I could cut down the Valtrex from 2 grams daily to half that, in other words, one horse pill a day. That seemed fine for a couple of weeks.

Then an old problem reasserted itself. It was a tiny bit of flaking on my left upper lip and a burning sensation throughout. I emailed my dermatologist, Dr. Lin, about it because that is the way we have communicated in the past. I didn't hear back so I called Melissa. By then the problem area on my lip had gotten bigger and more painful. I sent her a photo, and she said she would talk to Dr. Alyea and Dr. Lin. This was yesterday and by this morning I had not heard back from anyone.

I woke up on this bright sunny day and was surprised that tears were running down my face. I tried some Tylenol but it didn't work. I thought of taking something strong and calling it a day, but I knew that if I went out and did something I wouldn't be so focused on my lip.

I went to yoga and then to the library and looked out the window at the beautiful view and the benches alongside the river and thought that on the next nice day, I will bring a coffee, a book and maybe a friend and sit there. In the back of my mind I remembered that I was supposed to get a new library card, and when I went up to the desk I learned it was the last day to get one free.

Back home, I was getting ready to go meet a long-lost friend when emails came making everything clear. Melissa had thought Dr. Lin was going to get in touch with me, and Dr. Lin thought someone from her office was going to call.

End result: a steroid ointment, doubling up on the Bactrim and taking two more Valtrex. The ointment made it immediately feel better, but I still might need to go to Boston next week to have it looked at.

I made it on time to Northampton to meet that fiend. We went to Paul and Elizabeth's, where we used to take our babies in strollers. Through a misunderstanding, we had not talked in 30 years. We had seen each other on Linkedin and started messaging.

It was a good time to talk, in between the lunch crowd and the dinner crowd when the restaurant was quiet. We talked for almost three hours, one hour for every 10 years.

If I had stayed home all day, none of this would have happened.

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